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Ahmad Raza Khan

Not to be confused with Syed Ahmad Barelvi.
Islamic scholar
Ahmed Raza Khan
Title Mujaddid, Ala Hazrat
Born 14 June 1856[1]
Died 1921 (aged 64–65)
Ethnicity Indian
Era Modern era
Region South Asia
Jurisprudence Hanafi
Creed Sunni
Main interest(s) Aqeedah, Fiqh, Tasawwuf

Barelvi movement

Central figures

Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi
Mustafa Raza Khan
Hamid Raza Khan


Jamaat Ahle Sunnat, Pakistan
Sunni Tehreek, Pakistan
Sunni Ittehad Council, Pakistan
Dawat-e-Islami, International
Sunni Dawat-e-Islami, International


Al Jamiatul Ashrafia · Manzar-e-Islam
Al-Jame-atul-Islamia · Jamiatur Raza

Notable Scholars

Ameen Mian Qaudri, India
Sarfraz Ahmed Naeemi, Pakistan
Muhammad Ilyas Qadri, Pakistan
Akhtar Raza, India
Qamaruzzaman Azmi, United Kingdom
Muhammad Muslehuddin Siddiqui, Pakistan
Arshadul Qaudri, India


Kanzul Iman, translation of the Qur'an

Ahmed Raza Khan Fazil-e-Barelvi (Urdu: احمد رضاخان‎, Hindi: अहमद रज़ा खान, 1856–1921), popularly known as Aala Hazrat, was a Sunni Hanafi scholar who founded the Barelvi movement of South Asia.[2][3][4] Raza Khan wrote on numerous topics, including law, religion, philosophy and the sciences. He was a prolific writer, producing nearly 1,000 works in his lifetime.[3]

Early life

His father was Naqi Ali Khan, and his great-grandfather Shah Kazim Ali Khan[5] was a noted Sunni scholar.[6]

Ahmed's mother named him Amman Miyān.[7] Raza Khan used the appellation "Abdul Mustafa" (slave [or servant] of Mustafa) prior to signing his name in correspondence.[8] He studied Islamic sciences and completed a traditional Dars-i-Nizami course under the supervision of his father Naqī Áli Khān, who was a legal scholar. He went on the Hajj with his father in 1878.

Religious studies

Ahmed Raza Khan translated the Quran into Urdu, which was first published in 1912 under the title of Kanz ul-Iman fi Tarjuma al-Qur’an. The original manuscript is preserved in the library of Idara Tahqiqat-i-Imam Ahmed Raza, Karachi, and an English translation of Kanzul Iman has also been published. Ahmed Raza Khan also wrote several books on the collection and compilation of hadiths.[9]


Ahmed Raza Khan's beliefs regarding Muhammad include:

  • Muhammad, although human, possessed a noor (light) that predates creation.[10] This contrasts with the Deobandi view that Muhammad was insan-e-kamil ("the complete man"), a respected but physically typical human.[11][12]
  • He is haazir naazir (can be present in many places at the same time, as opposed to God, who is everywhere by definition).[13]
  • God has granted him ilm-e-ghaib (the knowledge of the unseen).

Raza Khan wrote:

We do not hold that anyone can equal the knowledge of Allah Most High, or possess it independently, nor do we assert that Allah’s giving of knowledge to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is anything but a part. But what a patent and tremendous difference between one part [the Prophet’s] and another [anyone else’s]: like the difference between the sky and the earth, or rather even greater and more immense.
—Ahmed Raza Khan, al-Dawla al-Makkiyya (c00), 291.

Opposition to other sects

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian claimed to be the Mahdi (messiah) awaited by the Muslims as well as a new prophet. These claims proved to be extremely controversial among many in the Muslim community, and he was branded a heretic and apostate by many religious scholars of the time, including Ahmed Raza Khan. Ghulam Ahmad's claims are controversial to this day, but his Mahdi status and prophethood is believed in by the Ahmadiyya sect. Though, Pakistan in 1974, have officially declared the Ahmadiyya sect non-Muslims.[14]

When Ahmed Raza visited Mecca and Medina for pilgrimage in 1905, he prepared a draft document entitled Al Motamad Al Mustanad ("The Reliable Proofs") for presentation to the scholars of Mecca and Medina. Ahmed Raza Khan collected opinions of the ulama of the Hejaz and compiled them in an Arabic language compendium with the title, Husam al Harmain ("The Sword of Two Sanctuaries"), a work containing 34 verdicts from 33 ulama (20 Meccan and 13 Medinese). In that work, which was to inspire a reciprocal series of fatwas between Barelvis and Deobandis lasting to the present, Ahmad Raza denounced as kuffar the Deobandi leaders Ashraf Ali Thanwi, Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, and Muhammad Qasim Nanotwi.[15]

Khan issued fatwas against other religious groups such as Deobandis and Ahl al-Hadith, accusing them of being disrespectful towards Muhammad. Khan went as far as to declare not only all Deobandis and Ahl al-Hadith as infidels and apostates,[16] but also any non-Deobandis who doubted the apostasy of Deobandis.[17]

Opposition to heterodox practices

Raza Khan condemned many practices he saw as bid'at (forbidden innovations), such as:

  • Qawali (religious music) and Sufi whirling, which he opposed as un-Islamic. Khan issued a fatwa in which he quoted the sayings of the Chisti Sufi order demonstrating their view that musical instruments are forbidden in Islam.[18]
  • Tawaf (ceremonially walking in circles around a holy site ) of tombs.[19]
  • Sajda (prostration) on Shrines and Tombs to those other than God[20][21]
  • Ta'zieh, plays re-enacting religious scenes[20]
  • Women going to visit mazaar (tombs)[22]

Political quietism

During the period of the Indian Khilafat Movement, Gandhi was advised that he should meet with Raza Khan. When he was told that Gandhi wished to meet and speak to him, Raza Khan said, "What would he speak about? Religion or worldly affairs? If it is worldly affairs, what can I partake in, for I have abstained from the world and have no interest in it."[23]

Unlike most other Muslim leaders in the region at the time, Khan and his movement opposed the Indian independence movement due to its leadership under Gandhi, who was not a Muslim.[24]


The Syrian Sufi preacher Muhammad al-Ya’qoubi declared on national television his belief that the mujaddid of the Indian subcontinent was Ahmed Raza Khan, going so far as to say that a person of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah can be identified by his love of Ahmed Raza Khan, and that those outside the Ahlus Sunnah are identified by their attacks on him.[25]


  • Raza opposed labeling then-British held India to be Dar al-Harb ("land of war"), thus opposing any justification of jihad (struggle) or hijrat (mass emigration to escape) against the proposed plans of the Deobandiyya Movement who wished to begin jihaad. Raza's stance was opposed by Deobandi scholars such as Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi.[26]
  • Raza Khan opposed the belief in a heliocentric system, instead stating that the sun and moon circulate around the Earth.[27]

See also


  1. Globalisation, Religion & Development (2011), p. 53. Farhang Morady and İsmail Şiriner (eds.). London: International Journal of Politics and Economics.
  2. Rowena Robinson (2005) Tremors of Violence: Muslim Survivors of Ethnic Strife in Western India, p. 191. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, ISBN 0761934081
  3. Roshen Dalal (2010) The Religions of India: A Concise Guide to Nine Major Faiths, p. 51. Revised edition. City of Westminster: Penguin Books, ISBN 9780143415176
  4. Barbara D. Metcalf (2009) Islam in South Asia in Practice, p. 342. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  5. The Columbia World Dictionary of Islamism (2007), p. 92. Oliver Roy and Antoine Sfeir (eds.), New York: Columbia University Press.
  6. Elizabeth Sirriyeh (1999) Sufis and Anti-Sufis: The Defense, Rethinking and Rejection of Sufism in the Modern World, p. 49. London: Routledge, ISBN 0-7007-1058-2.


  • Baraka, A – A Saviour in a Dark World (Article) The Islamic Times, March 2003 Stockport, UK
  • Haroon, M The World of Ahmed Raza Kazi Publications, Lahore 1974
  • Sanyal, Usha, Ahmed Riza Khan Barelwi: In the Path of the Prophet (Makers of the Muslim World), Oneworld, 2005.

External links

  • Introduction to Imam Ahmad Raza Who is he?
  • Who is Alahazrat ? E-Book Biography
  • Online Quran Project includes the Qur'an translation of Ahmed Rida Khan.
  • The True Life Picture of Hazrat
  • A Complete Encyclopedia about Ahmed Raza Khan.
  • The Life and Works of the Muslim Revivalist, A'La Hadrat
  • Research works on Ahmed Raza Khan
  • Books and works of Ahmed Rida Khan
  • Fatawa and works by Ahmed Rida Khan
  • A detailed website about the Raza's life and works

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